Sound Science


Nucleosomes as shown in Hollow. Image courtesy of Drew Berry.
(Click image to enlarge)
Nucleosomes as shown in Hollow. Image courtesy of Drew Berry.

Biomedical animator Drew Berry (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research) is known for his fantastic and detailed depictions of complex biomolecular systems. His award-winning work, which can be viewed online, in television and film, and in museums throughout the world, now appears in new and unusual venues thanks to a collaboration with the musician Bjork.

Bjork's latest project Biophilia manifests her love for music, technology, and nature in many ways: an album, iPad app, touring production (which includes a 24-woman Icelandic choir and a musical Tesla coil), and a music education initiative.

To accompany the song Hollow, Bjork's meditation on biological ancestry, Berry created a lush landscape for DNA to replicate (and sparkle) to the music. Molecular machines work at realtime speed, culminating in the appearance of Bjork as a complex protein structure. Many of the molecular shapes, illustrated with great depth and rich color, were created with the help of crystal structure data from the PDB.

Recently released online at NPR, the animation is projected on screens throughout the venues hosting Bjork's concerts, and is highlighted on stage during the performance of Hollow. The related iPad app includes the Hollow movie and a 'machine' that lets where users can queue up floating enzymes to interact with the replisome to create music.

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